Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Psychology of Religion, History of

  • Bernard SpilkaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_154


Psychologists have always existed, though for most of history they were not known as such. Regarded primarily as philosophers, theologians, and writers, their interest was, in the broadest sense, the human condition. Over the centuries, their insights and understandings metamorphosed into psychology. Given the role of religion in history and society, a psychology of religion was inevitable. The last 200 years have thus witnessed the development of these disciplines. Still, turmoil pervades the latter field and its relationship to mainstream psychology. The following pages detail these issues.

Identifying the Psychology of Religion?

A number of problems plague this realm. For example, the psychology of religion cannot always be easily distinguished from anthropology and sociology. Some psychological historians fail to appreciate psychology’s relationship to religion. For example, Hilgard (1987) suggested an equivalence to the sociology of religion. Most authors of...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DenverDenverUSA